16 January 2007 | cubbi-1
Awesome characters, and so true to the book.
I've never been a big fan of Bulgakov (And to every "proper" Russian who just called me an uneducated ignoramus, I have a PhD, thank you.). His novels use simple science fiction or mystic plots to carry overbearing doses of caustic satire, making fun of the Soviet way of life. Master and Margaret, his most famous novel, which was faithfully followed by the creators of this movie, talks about Satan visiting 1930's Moscow from what seems to be idle curiosity, allowing his minions pull all sort of pranks on the greedy, dishonest, cowardly, and hypocritical soviet citizens of all levels. But there's more to this one story than satire - we meet two characters that aren't your cookie-cutter soviets. Master, who, with his artistic vision, perceives the true story of Jesus Crist and Pontius Pilate, and Margaret, who loves Master and suffers for him. Besides being amazingly true to the book, this 1994 movie version brought together some of the most talented actors of the soviet era, from Gaft as Satan to Durov as St. Matthew. And the entire cast, old and new, managed to feel the responsibility of playing one of the greatest Soviet novels of the 20th century, and so they've put on a great performance. The characters are so vivid, sometimes it feels like a theater play rather than a movie, but, in this setting, it works. The only things I didn't like were technical items, such as effects and, in some places sound editing or camera was lacking.. but it's understandable considering the difficult post-soviet times when this was made. (oh, and avoid the horribly cut 2-hour version)